First; a few points of note
- Although I have carpentry skills, this is my first time undertaking a project of this nature.
- This is also my first Instructable.
- I am not an engineer but I am mechanically inclined.
- All photos were taken after the fact.
- I designed and built this fence using largely my own ideas. I searched the internet and kept my eyes open around town to look at stake sides in order to get ideas that I can conform to my own fancy. But the internet proved to be very limited on stake side pictures or plans for a pickup truck, and to see a stake side on a pickup truck in a city seems just as elusive.
- A big thanks to Instructable poster mattop1176 for his Instructable and pictures.
- The features of what I wanted in my stake sides were...
- I did not want the stake side to overwhelm the overall appearance of the truck.
- With the exception of the headache rack (the fence directly behind the cab) I did not want the side fences to go as high as the cab roof.
- I wanted the headache rack slightly higher than the cab roof so that long objects I may carry do not rest on/scratch/dent the roof.
- I left 7/8" space on the bottom of the bottom row and 1/2" space between the bottom of the 2nd and 3rd rows. This allows...
...space for rope to pass, if needed.
...some additional visibility when driving empty.
...the rack to have somewhat less of a 'boxy' look.
- I did not include a material list in this Instructable because of Elliffi-Remember syndrome.
- Tightening any bolt and using any cut washer was done only during the final assembly except for the corner posts. This is because I assembled and disassembled things quite a few times as I progressed through each phase of the project. See Consequences to finger-tightening nuts vs tightening under Step 8: Some Final Notes and Thoughts.
- All lumber I used is white oak (which I had second thoughts about too late) for durability, longevity and its' beautiful grain, but certainly not for its' cost. ($4.24/lf for the 1x6 horizontal boards and I forgot the cost of the 2x6x6 for the posts, but 'twerent cheap.) I thought too late that maybe I should had used hard wood for the posts only, and less expensive 'disposable' wood for everything else. Too late now. But that's okay, it turned out good.
- All of the horizontals are 1x6.
- I used a 1/4" round-over on all exposed edges.
- I used scrap wood behind any good wood that I drilled through to prevent the drill bit from splintering the good wood on exit. A well known carpentry practice.
- With the exception of two bolts 5/16" for the top corners of the headache rack, all hardware is 3/8". Hex bolts, cut washers, flat washers and 3/8" T-nuts for the post holes. Carriage bolts, flat washers, cut washers and nuts for everything else. Sorry; I forgot the lengths of the bolts because they differ at different places. But I have faith in you that you can figure it out.
- After all of the cuts were completed and prior to final assembly I applied one coat of Minwax brand stain in Jacobean to all pieces individually and on all sides.
- After the stain dried I applied four coats of Varathane brand spar urethane allowing several hours of dry time between coats. Four coats because that is what the can recommended.
- If you really want a nice end-result:
Take your time
Remember that oops happens (just try to keep them minimized)
- I realize that some of the techniques I used, the order of the construction and assembly, and whatever or however I did things, could be done in different ways. Maybe with more difficulty or less difficulty/more efficiently or less efficiently. For example; instead of sandwiching blocks of wood for the headache rack channels, one solid piece of wood would had been simpler. But this Instructable is how I did it.
- As you progress through the construction label every piece, large and small, as to their location and orientation. If you do not, when you have to re-assemble something you will come across pieces where the drilled holes do not line up exactly, even though the pieces look identical.
Step 1: Constructing the Posts and Preparing the Truck Post Holes
And away we go...
Constructing the corner posts
I found out how hard white oak really is (or how weak my portable table saw is) when I ripped the 2x6x6. The motor groaned and even with a new blade burned the wood major. Luckily, I was able to plane the wood burns down and still had good dimensions for the posts. For a price you can have your local lumberyard mill the lumber for you to your specs.
- I milled the four corner posts (and two middle posts for the headache rack) to about the same thickness as the truck's post holes.
- Make the lengths (the height of the posts) more than you need. You will trim them to specs later.
- I gave all of the long edges of the posts a 1/4" round-over, but if ever I were to do this again I would round-over only the outboard edges.
I also had two pieces of 1x3 to be used as support boards for the headache rack.
Preparing the posts and post holes
- I viewed inside the post holes of the truck to determine any limitations as to where I expect the bolts will pass through.
- Beginning at the left rear post hole, I labeled and inserted a post into the post hole and used a square to make sure that the post was perpendicular to the bed rail.
- Using a drill bit smaller than 3/8", I drill through the bed liner, inside bed wall and slightly into the post.
I did not want to drill completely through the post at this time. Imagine how you would feel if you caused a dimple or hole through the outer wall of your truck with the drill bit!
- I removed the post and completed the hole through the post with a 3/8" bit.
- I then re-drilled the hole through the bed liner and inside bed wall with a 3/8" bit.
- I completed the remaining three corners and corner posts the same way.
Knowing now exactly where the holes are on the posts,
- I used a router to counter-sink the outboard side of the hole on all posts so that the T-nut is flush with the surface of the post.
- I secured the 3/8" T-nuts into the counter-sink of all four posts.
Counter-sinking the holes on the posts for the T-nuts will prevent the the post from jamming when inserting/removing it from the trucks' post holes.
If you have a drop-in bed liner as I do:
- At all four corner holes, but particularly the front corners, cut away the area of liner where the flat washers for the post bolts will seat so that the flat washers will seat firmly on the inside bed wall.
I completed the rough installation of the four corner posts by inserting the posts into the post holes and snugging the bolts. I did not tighten them at this time.
Step 2: Constructing the Horizontal Sides
I made sure that the lengths of the fence boards were longer than what I needed. The back ends of the boards (at the rear of the truck) will be trimmed evenly later.
- Beginning with the left side of the truck I set scrap blocks measuring 7/8" high on the bed rail to keep the horizontal spacing.
- With the stakes bolted snug but not tight, I placed the first 1x6 board on the spacers, took scrap blocks of wood and loosely clamped the first board to the inboard of the stakes. (Inboard or outboard is your own preference.) The scrap wood was clamped to the inboard of the 1x6.
My plan was to drill from the outside, in (through the post, then the board).
- I found a sweet spot as to how far forward I wanted the fence to go. That sweet spot was the outer edge of the front bed wall.
- With the front edge of the board at the sweet spot, I used a square to make certain that both posts were perpendicular to the truck bed rail and adjusted the posts where necessary.
Now; moving one thing can move something else out of kilter, so check back several times everywhere to make sure everything is lined up to where you want it before you tighten the clamps prior to drilling.
If the posts are not perpendicular to the bed rail you may have difficulty removing and inserting the fences.
Determining the location of the bolts
- With everything where I wanted, I tightened the clamps and checked everything a final time.
- Beginning with the front post I used a T-square to lightly pencil mark, on the outboard corner of the post, the relation of the top and bottom edge of the horizontal side board.
- From both points I drew light pencil lines horizontally across the outboard side of the post.
- Then, from the top line I measured down, and from the bottom line I measured up marking 1 5/8".
- Then I marked for horizontal center.
These two points are where the carriage bolt heads will be.
- I then drilled the two 3/8" holes.
- After I drilled each hole I inserted the bolts, flat washers and nuts finger-tight.
I did not want to tighten the nut and allow the head of the carriage bolt to sink into the wood at this time. I wanted to allow that only once...during the final installation.
- I followed the same steps for the rear post, but before doing anything I again checked for perpendicular.
- I followed the same procedures above for the remaining two horizontals with a difference that the spacing for the bottom of the 2nd and 3rd rows were 1/2", so I used scrap wood 1/2" high for the spacing. Also...
- ...Before drilling the bolt holes for the 2nd and 3rd rows use a straight-edge to make certain that the front edges are in alignment with the bottom board.
So far so good so I repeated the procedures above for the right side of the truck.
Determining the location of the rear end
Now I wanted to determine the final length of the horizontal fence boards.
- I stood on the side of the truck at the back and decided that I wanted to have the rear edges of the horizontals even with the inside edge of the closed tailgate.That measured to be about 1 1/4" past the rear posts.
- Facing the truck in front of the left rear post, on the bottom side board I measured from the right side of the post 1 1/4" towards the back of the truck and made a pencil mark.
- I repeated this on the other two boards.
- I repeated this on the right side of the truck, on all three boards, measuring 1 1/4" from the left side of the post towards the back of the truck.
I removed all of the 1x6's, labeling each as to their location and orientation.
Making the final cut
- I used a circular saw to cut the lines of all six boards to finalize the length of the side fences. (Man I miss my DeWalt 12'' Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw)
Taking the edge off
- Finally; with a router, on all six boards I used a 1/4" round-over on all of the long edges and both edges at the 'back' end.
- On the 'front' end, I rounded only the outboard edge. (that's just my preference.)
Step 3: Constructing Channels for the Headache Rack
Now; I designed the headache rack so that it can be installed virtually bolt-free. On the front inboard of the two sides I incorporated 'channels' that the headache rack will slide down into, and will hold the rack in place. Building these channels is the next step.
Preparing the location of the channel
- I re-installed all of the side boards, finger tightened the bolts and made sure the posts remained perpendicular to the bed rail..
- From inside the bed of the truck and facing the front left post, I used a T-square to pencil mark the inboard side near the top, the relation to the front-of-truck post edge.
- I repeated this on the bottom board.
- With a straight-edge I connected these two marks by drawing a pencil line down, across all three boards.
So; what I have now is a pencil line inboard, from top to bottom in even relation to the front edge of the post.
- From this line, on the top board I measured 7/8" towards the front of the truck and made a pencil mark.
- I repeated this on the bottom board.
- With a straight-edge I connected these two marks by drawing a pencil line down, across all three boards.
This space between the lines will be occupied by the thickness of the front rack (3/4" in my case) plus 1/8" to prevent binding.
That extra space beyond the thickness of your lumber you can make whatever you think. Just keep in mind wood swelling/expansion will make the headache rack difficult or impossible to install or remove, and too much space plus wood shrinkage may cause rattle as you truck down the road.
I opted for 1/8" of extra space knowing in my mind how I can make adjustments to the channel later, if necessary. (See Adjusting the channel for the headache rack under Step 8: Some Final Notes and Thoughts..
- I repeated the above procedures for the right fence.
Constructing the blocks that form the channel
Now for this next step you may want to use a 2x4 for simplicity and ease. But keep in mind that one shade of wood stain may look different on different types of wood so use the same type of wood for this. I did not have 2x4 in white oak.
- Keeping with the strong white oak, I took scraps of 1x (i.e. 3/4" thick) and made twelve 4 1/4" L x 2 1/2" W blocks and twelve 5 1/8" L x 1 1/2" W blocks.
Two blocks of the same dimension will eventually be sandwiched which means I'll end up with six blocks of each dimension.
For simplicity I will refer to the 4 1/4" L x 2 1/2" W blocks as the 'wide block' and the 5 1/8" L x 1 1/2" W blocks as the 'narrow block'.
Installing the channel blocks
- Working on the left side in the bed of the truck I removed the top two boards.
- From the bottom board at the front post I removed the bottom bolt and the nut of the top bolt.
The top bolt with no nut is now there only to hold the front end of the board in place until it is clamped to the post.
- I took two wide blocks, one on top of the other in even alignment, and one scrap wood; placed the long edge of the blocks along the back (back-of-truck) of the back pencil line, centered on the line, and clamped it all together.
Perhaps more clearly; the wide blocks should be oriented directly over the post (but inboard) with front edges aligned and centered. See the pictures.
So; at this point I had clamped together, from inboard to outboard, one scrap wood, two wide blocks, the horizontal fence board and the post. The two wide blocks in alignment with each other and the long edge centered on the back of the back line.
I will use the holes in the post as a drill guide to drill through the wide blocks.
The two blocks sandwiched makes the channels on each side 1 1/2" deep leaving plenty of space for the rack to be inserted/removed without binding.
- From the outboard side of the post I drilled the holes through the wide blocks.
- I repeated the above procedures for installing a pair of narrow blocks with their long edges centered along the front side of the front line.
- I repeated these procedures for the remaining five boards.
For this instance; I found it easier to work with the clamps if you work with one board on the posts at a time.
If this is as confusing to read as it is to explain, remember that the space between the two pencil lines are not to be covered. Also refer to the pictures.
The good news, though, is that the channels are completed...unless...
...unless... you opt to do what I did and apply a 1/4" round-over to only the back-of-truck edges of only the six 'top' large channel blocks. I also did the tops and bottom edges of them but I don't like how it looks, how it does not mesh with the sandwiched block. I did not round-over the edges facing the channels.
Step 4: Constructing the Headache Rack
Measuring board length for the front rack
- With the channels installed on the fence boards, with the fence boards in place, and with all nuts finger-tight; at the front ends of the fences I measured the distance between the inside of both fences and subtracted about 1/4".
- This will be the length of the boards for the headache rack so I cut my remaining four 1x6's to that length.
The reason for subtracting 1/4" is to prevent the rack from binding when lifting the rack to remove it, or when slipping the rack in place.
When the rack is in place, even if an edge of the rack happens to abut one side, the other side will still be 1 1/4" deep in the channel.
To reinforce the front rack or not to reinforce
Since my design of the front rack is of a virtually bolt-free assembly; as to a thought I had about an edge popping out from its' channel because of a heavy load against the center of the rack, my plan was to reinforce the rack to help prevent a forward bow. That was going to be my absolute last step in the project. But when I completed the final installation I found that I did not need it. I figure I can add the reinforcement anytime later if I think they are necessary.
If you feel like you want or need to reinforce the rack to help prevent bowing, see: Reinforcing the front rack under Step 8:Some Final Notes and Thoughts.
Determining the location of the two large posts
- I slid the first board down the side channels and rested it on scrap wood and shims. I used the shims to adjust the evenness of the rack board with the side fence boards.
Because my bed liner went over the front bed rail, space under the bottom board of the rack is smaller than the 7/8" space on the side fences...which I thought was perfectly okay.
- I put the 1x3's aside for now and began with the large posts.
- I stood the large posts and leaned them against the back window, spaced apart using the operable back window as a guide. Just a guesstimate at this point. I got in the drivers seat and looked in the rear view mirror. The back ends of the fences properly centered in the mirror gave me a point of reference to locate the posts. I experimented a few times until I found my sweet spot. My sweet spot was a few inches outside both sides of the operable window pane so when the 'viewing slots' are made I would be able to see past both sides of both posts.
Understand that well before this point I had already had my cut-out design in mind. (See: The design of the rear-view opening below.)
- I butted the left end of the rack board to the left fence and I put a light pencil mark on the 1x6 to mark the location of the large left post. It measured to be 20 1/4" from the left end.
- I copied the measurement for the large right post and again pencil marked the rack board.
- I set the large posts aside.
Determining the location of the two 1x3 support posts
Next I needed to determine where I need to locate the two vertical 1x3's that will add rigidity and support to the horizontals of the headache rack. I thought if I put them close to the corners it will give the completed project more of a 'boxy' look or 'solid' corners, neither of which I would rather not have if I can help it. The rack channels would prevent having the support boards tight in the corner even if I wanted them there. They did not need to be so close to the corners, anyway.
- I placed the 1x3's at a few locations and deemed that 5" from the ends were fine.
- So; measuring 5" from each end of the rack board I put a light pencil mark on the rack board to mark the locations.
Installing the two 1x3 support boards
CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING MAY BE A HAZARDOUS TO YOUR BACK WINDOW IF YOU ARE NOT CAREFUL:
- I clamped the two 1x3 support boards to the back of the rack's horizontal board at the 5" pencil marks.
- I made sure that they were setting on the front bed rail and, with a square, were perpendicular to the front bed rail.
- To locate hole placement for the bolts I used a T-square and pencil to transfer the location of the left and right edges of both support boards to the front of the horizontal board.
- Then I used the same method as I did on the side fence boards in order to determine the locations of the bolt holes. (Refer to Determining the location of the bolts under Step 2: Constructing the Horizontal Sides)
BE CAREFUL WHEN THE DRILL BIT EXITS THAT IT DOES NOT GO INTO YOUR GLASS! There is narrow clearance between the back of the posts and the window, at least for the two bottom rows on my truck.
I was unable to use scrap wood behind all of the holes I drilled for the rack because of the clearance, but I figured if the drill bit splintered the wood on exit, no one will see it anyway. The flat washers to be used should hide it, too.
- I drilled the four 3/8" holes (with no catastrophes)
- I inserted four bolts and flat washers and finger-tightened the nuts
- I repeated these procedures with the remaining three horizontal boards
The design of the rear-view opening
Now; I wanted as much rear visibility as possible yet still have the back window protected. I already had an idea of a cut-out design that will protect the glass, offer a little more visibility, and instead of ho-hum square, bars or mesh, have a little more character.
In my design I knew that where the areas of the 1x6 horizontal rack boards will cross the large posts, the full width of the 5 1/2" will be less. So the narrow area of the horizontal board where it will cross the large support boards will take only one bolt each.
Refer to the picture.
To explain my design; imagine two double-bladed kayak paddles, on edge, one atop the other. Look at the pictures because I sure as hell can't explain it further in words.
Note that I do not intend to haul dirt, gravel or other loads fine in nature. But I can stand plywood inside the fence if ever I do.
Determining the width of the rear-view slots
What I was not able to determine in my plan until now is how wide the slots can be.
So; at this point I have all four 1x6's installed in the channels with the two 1x3's attached with bolts finger-tight. I did not install the large posts by this time.
- I took the two large posts and clamped them onto the rack boards between the rack and the glass and at their marks I drew earlier, 20 1/4" from the ends.
- I made certain that they were resting on the bed's front rail and, with a square, that they were perpendicular.
- I placed two small wood scraps between a row of rack boards where they will be visible in the mirror, and where I would begin to experiment where the width of the slots would be.
- I got in the drivers seat and looked into the rear view mirror between the horizontal rack boards. The back ends of the fences properly centered in the mirror gave me not only a point of reference, but as it turned out, the widths of the highest points for the slots.
- I moved the scrap wood several times to find the exact location of the scraps in the mirror
- I then measured from the scraps to the end of the board and made note: 15 3/4"
- I then removed and disassembled the headache rack, marking the location and orientation of each piece, and took them to a flat work area.
Now comes some intricate work.
Making the cuts for the rear-view slots
- Beginning with top edge of the bottom board, I marked 15 3/4" from the left end.15 3/4" is what I noted earlier.
I will say 'left end' or 'right end' to designate the left end of the board and the right end of the board.
- From that 15 3/4" mark on the edge of the board I marked 1 1/4" down, perpendicular from the edge. That is how much of the edge I will take off.
- Then I experimented on the board with a protractor, at that 1 1/4" mark, to find an appealing bevel and found that a 30 degree angle appealed to my fancy.
- So; I placed my protractor, set at 30 degrees, on the top edge and drew a pencil line from that 1 1/4" mark up and out to the top edge of the board, towards the left end.
- I duplicated these measurements at the other end of the board and drew a pencil line from that 1 1/4" mark up and out to the top edge of the board, towards the right end.
- Then I drew a pencil line connecting both 1 1/4" marks.
So with the pencil lines drawn it should measure to be something like this:
From the left end to the start of the slope 13 1/4"; slope down (30 degrees) for 2 1/2"; from the bottom of the left slope, along the length of the board to the bottom of the right slope 34"; slope up (30 degrees) for 2 1/2"; from the top of the right slope to the right end 13 1/4".
- I used a table saw and jig saw for this cut-out and put this board aside.
- I took the next up board (2nd from bottom), duplicated the measurements from the first board to both long ends of this board and made the cuts.
The result of these two cuts on this second board makes this board resemble the shape of a double-bladed kayak paddle.
- I took the next up board (3rd from bottom), duplicated the measurements from the first board to both long ends of this board and made the cuts. Another kayak paddle.
- I took the remaining board (top board), duplicated the measurements from the first board to only the bottom long edge of this board and made the cuts.
- Then with a router I took a 1/4" round-over to all edges of all boards except the ends.
- I reassembled the rack onto the truck with the nuts finger tight.
- Now I measured the width of the brake light and how much higher I needed to trim the bottom edge of the top board in order to keep the brake light visible and legal.
- I measured that the brake light is 14 1/2" wide and determined that I needed to trim the bottom edge of the top board one additional inch for 14 1/2" on center.
- I removed the top board and measured the full length. With the resulting number I divided by 2. This result gave me the center point of the board and where I put a pencil mark on the bottom edge.
- I then divided the width of the brake light, 14 1/2", by two.
- I pencil marked this result, 7 1/4", in both directions from the center mark I made on the board.
So now I have marked the width of the brake light centered on the bottom edge of the top board.
I decided to make this 40 degree bevels instead of the 30 degrees made for the visibility slots. This cut-out is not as wide or deep and conforms a little more to the shape of the brake light.
- Beginning with the left pencil mark I made on the board I made a pencil line 1" perpendicular from the edge of the board.
- I placed my protractor, set at 40 degrees, on the bottom edge and drew a pencil line from that 1" mark, up and out to the long edge towards the left end.
- I duplicated this procedure at the other 1" mark, drawing the line up and out to the right end.
- I drew a pencil line connecting the 1" marks and used a jig saw to complete this cut-out.
- With a router I took a 1/4" round-over to the newly cut edges, both sides.
- I then reinstalled the top board.
Installing the two large front rack posts
DON'T FORGET TO BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT THE CLEARANCE BEHIND THE RACK AND THE GLASS
- I simply repeated the same procedure as Installing the two 1x3 support boards, above, except the "kayak paddle" boards got only one bolt, centered.
I came to realize too late in the project that I made a mistake of not making the front posts high enough. You can view the picture to see, and I will not go into detail on how I altered the top board to conform to the height of the posts. Hopefully you will have your posts as high as you intend.
Step 5: Trimming and Beveling the Posts
Determining the angle of the bevels
- I placed a protractor against the outboard side of the top left fence board and against the side of the rear post to determine a desirable angle to bevel.
I found that because of the location of the top bolt of the post the clearance for a bevel allowed no more than 30 degrees.
- I checked the remaining three corner posts and the two large and two 1x3 supports on the headache rack to make certain that they can accommodate 30 degrees.
I found that the two 1x3's on the headache rack were limited to 15 degrees.
Marking and cutting the bevels
- With the protractor set at 30 degrees and beginning with the left rear corner post; I butted the protractor against the outboard side of the top fence board, about 1/16th of an inch below the top edge, and against the side of the post. I drew a pencil line.
- I repeated this for the remaining three corner posts.
- I decided to keep the two large posts of the headache rack and the two 1x3's the same angle, so I reset the protractor to 15 degrees and repeated the above process on them.
- I completely disassembled all boards and posts, but left the channel blocks in place.
- Using a table saw I cut the eight pieces where I drew the lines
- Using a router with a 1/4" round-over I rounded three top edges of all posts and 1x3's. Not the edges that come into contact with the horizontal boards.
- Then I reassembled everything with the nuts finger tight.
Now; with all of the cuts made, edges routed and the project assembled and on the truck with nuts finger tight, I gave it all a look see. Looked pretty darn good to me.
Step 6: Protecting Your Work of Art
- I disassembled every single individual piece from the truck. (Make sure you label every piece as to their location and orientation)
I applied stain and spar urethane to every part on all sides all around.
Before I began this project I did some stain sampling on a piece of 1x6 to determine the color I wanted.
Use the same type of lumber for your stain samples that you will use for your project. The same color may look different on different wood types.
My selection turned out to be Minwax brand in Jacobean.
Preparing to apply the protection
Unfortunately I do not have a work shop, per se, so where I was doing some of the work I sank some 3" screws in wall studs so all of the large pieces would have a place to hang loosely from their drilled holes while they dry.
- I took a 1x piece of scrap pine and, spaced about 4" apart, drove two 2 1/2" screws all the way.
- I did the same thing with a second piece of scrap pine.
- I placed both pieces on a flat work surface upside down so that the points were sticking up.
I used these four screw points to set the boards on during the staining and protection process.
Apply wood stain
Use gloves when handling chemicals
I placed a board on the points of the scrap wood and used cotton cloth to apply one coat of stain. Follow the directions, cautions and warnings on the can. It says you can also use a brush or pad.
That is how I stained all of the posts and boards.
- I stained the small channel blocks from my finger tips.
Apply spar urethane
Now; this was the least enjoyable step of the entire project for me. Maybe it will be the most enjoyable step for you, I don't know. Just thought I would say.
Allow the wood stain to dry completely before applying spar.
Urethane is supposed to protect wood from weather and UV rays.
- The procedures I used for applying the stain were the same procedures I used for applying four coats of Varathane brand, outdoor, water base, crystal clear spar urethane, .
Follow the directions, cautions and warnings on the can.
Use gloves when handling chemicals.
After hanging the pieces to dry, look for runs coming from the bolt holes and wipe them immediately.
Allow hours of dry time between coats.
- After the final coat dried and before I reassemble my project, I re-drill all of the bolt holes using a 3/8" bit. The spar accumulated and dried in some of the holes making it difficult to re-insert bolts.
I used a spar satin finish because I did not want an unnatural shine on my stake side. After everything was assembled for the final time, I think that if I had to do this project again I would re-consider semi or gloss.
Step 7: The Grand Finale
After all of the pieces are completely dry from your final coat of spar:
- Assemble everything back onto the truck using lock washers.
- Tighten all bolts allowing the heads of the carriage bolts to sink into the wood.
While tightening the carriage bolts watch that the square under the head does not begin to turn when it makes contact with the wood. I had two bolts that began to do that, but I secured a pair of channel locks near the outer edge of the jaws onto the head of the bolts. Once the square was well into the wood I removed it. Do not allow the channel locks to contact the wood while turning. You will scuff your masterpiece and kick yourself.
- After the final assembly I used a cut-off with a metal-cutting blade to cut off excess bolt lengths down to the nuts.
Congratulations...you are done! Except for one final final step:
Take pictures and post them! Put them out on the internet for others who are searching for stake sides. References for stake sides seem to be scarce.
Step 8: Some Final Notes and Thoughts
Consequences to finger-tightening nuts vs tightening
Until final assembly, I did not want the head of the carriage bolts to sink into the wood nor did I use cut washers and I only finger-tightened the nuts. This was because I knew I was going to re-install pieces quite a few times during the course of constructing this stake side. I thought that this may or may not have consequences to my final results because tightening all of the nuts could draw the wood in further than finger-tightening, thus miss-aligning intended spacing. I felt that if there were a difference it would be insignificant to me and, as it turned out, I found some spacing issues with the 1x6's on the headache rack.
Nothing's perfect / an idea shattered
After the final assembly of the stake sides I found a gap at the two top corners of the headache rack at the front corner posts. It was because I designed the rack to be installed virtually bolt-free and gave the rack channels some space to prevent binding. As to the gap being detrimental to the racks' integrity, the gap meant nothing. But in regards to the appearance of the final product, to me it made a big difference to my overall satisfaction. That's just me, though, because if I expected having to use bolts it would not bother me. I installed two 5/16" machine bolts and washers up there to take care of the issue, but it shattered my virtually bolt-free idea. Oh well, I need a wrench for the corner posts anyway.
Adjusting the channel for the headache rack (Regarding Step 3: Constructing Channels for the Headache Rack under Preparing the location of the channel)
During final assembly of the stake side and after tightening all of the bolts of the two sides I began to slide the headache rack down the channels. I found that the large channel blocks on the left middle board was slightly out of alignment and prevented the rack from sliding down. To remedy this, I removed both of those large blocks and gave both holes to both pieces a small horizontal ream towards the 'front' of the truck. In other words, I slightly elongated the holes towards the 'front' of the truck so that I could re-mount the blocks further back allowing enough clearance for the rack to pass. I re-mounted the blocks and it turned out fine. It did not take much adjustment.
Reinforcing the headache rack (Regarding Step 4: Constructing the Headache Rack under To re-enforce the front rack or not to re-enforce)
My initial plan included reinforcing the headache rack against bowing. But after the final assembly of the project I found that reinforcement was not necessary. Maybe because I used a hard wood.
But if you feel that your headache rack needs reinforcement against bowing in the center; my plan was, after the final assembly, to take two rigid flat bars like a Simpson tie or stronger, and bend them into a squared "Z". Then I would slip the middle sections of the "z" under the two large posts (trimming the bottom of the posts to adjust for height if necessary). The part of the "z" behind the lower back of the post would be secured to the back of the post, and the other end of the "z" would hook down the inside edge of the truck's front bed rail. So if you are standing at the rear of the truck looking at the rack, the only part of the flat bars that would be visible would be from the bottom of the two large posts to a few inches down in front of the front bed rail.
So... that's it. All done
I hope you found this to be a useful Instructable. Please feel free to ask questions or to leave a comment.
Step 9: STAKE SIDE TAILGATE
After completing my stake side I exercised an option I held. I decided after all to add a tailgate to my fence. I opted to construct a double swing gate, rather than a single swing gate, so there would be no question of swing clearance when my travel trailer or anything else was connected to my truck or if I were to park close to something. Sorry, but I did not make an instructable out of this or explain the steps in detail.
The basic design of the gates replicates the headache rack. I cut back the side rails of the fence to flush with the rear posts. I mortised the rear face of the rear posts to accommodate hinges. I used 3 1/2" hinges that allow a full 270 degree wrap-around for each gate. This means instead of the gates sticking out perpendicular to the sides of the truck while in the full open position, the gates actually wrap around so they are 'flush' to the outside of the fence when in the fully open position. I installed eyes and spring-loaded gate hooks so I can lock the gates in the open position...when driving or not...if I choose. These hinges also have removable pins so that I can remove the gates fairly easily from the fence sides when I remove the fence from my truck.
I used a gate bolt mounted horizontally to secure the gates in the closed position. I drilled a hole near the tip of the bolt in order to accommodate a cotter pin to prevent the bolt from sliding out. (Some gate bolts come with pre-drilled holes.) So as not to loose the cotter pin, I connected one end of a 'fine' chain to the pin and the other end of the chain I dead-fastened to a gate. The gate bolt came with only two 'supports' which the bolt passes through. This was unsatisfactory to my application so I had to customize two additional supports using galvanized metal fasteners.
On the outside of the left and right side boards I determined the location for, and installed, an eye hook to lock the gates in the open position, and bumpers to protect the work.
The pictures show some bolts of excess lengths. I will be cutting those off flush with the nuts. (Done. And while I was at it, I cut small notches under the head of each hinge pin for a screwdriver to fit...making it easier to remove the pins when removing the tail gates.)
One regret I had was violating my own advice...take your time, be precise, blah, blah. If I had given a little more thought I would had made pocket holes for four particular screws instead of angling them in.
Thanks for your interest in my work. If you have any questions I'd be glad to respond.